Since 1992 I have been making a potato harvest one every year.
Everything started with an invitation to a show at the Galeria de la Oficina in placeCityMedellin, the title of the exhibition, "still-life". The concept was to speculate on this art form from a contemporary point of view. That year was the conflictive celebration of the 500 years of the discovery of the Americas and I decided to approach my proposal focusing on this subject.
The 14th century was full of ignorance and fear, something that you can still see today.
The misinterpretation of foreign cultures and prejudice over difference.
Esthetics was a particular psychological ingredient in the Old World, the behavior and judgment of the European man towards the rest was in most of cases base on looks, this was not an exclusive behavior from the people of the rest of the world, this also applied to Eastern cultures as well as native Americans.
With all this and today's globalization especially in communications, things are more or less the same.
The world has turned flat again.
Taking all this, I looked for something American that now where all over the world, something that could work in reverse that idea of colonization, something that where humbly native yet strong, useful, important...
That had left an imprint in the culture of there new hosts that they cannot recognize that once they didn't have it, that it wasn't there.
... and that could be placed in the context of the exhibition.
I got to The potato, the American, of the land, embedded on it.
Original from Peru and fundamental in all Andean cultures.
The Quetchuas ate them, made pottery inspired by it, worshiped it… it was a sacred.
The Europeans took it back and we know that saved the continent when the famines, that completed the French cuisine, that the Russians made their vodka out of it, that is the symbol of Ireland.
The history of the potato in Europe is vast and rich, with incredible anecdotes. It was dirty and ugly, for the pigs.
Was classified as a Solanaceae, saying poisonous or dangerous along with the Mandragora.
But the tuberous was ease going, simple, tough and cheap.
Ease to harvest, easy to eat, it was good.
First I created a series of potatoes made out of bronze, organized as in the same form as they are presented in street markets in Latin-American. They looked like little men on the ground.
Then the project evolved into large number of ceramic potatoes, some times accompanied with texts or images.
After a few years, out of making and making ceramic potatoes, the work has become one of a sophisticated realism. Has pas the visual test of botanist, potato growers, artists and cooks.
Trick the eye. Dirty bling-bling. Trompel'oeil
This is not a potato=Esta no es una papa=Ceci n'est pas une pomme de terre
Beauty over content, philosophical ideas that are present in post humanism and of preoccupation of art today.
The harvest has been exhibited many times also are part of public and private collections in country-regionplaceColombia and the States. They are sold, exchange or plainly given away.
Emotional economics as in the original American trades.
This year “Potato harvest” reaches its 16 year.